Police officers can search your home and vehicle only under certain circumstances. Knowing your rights can help you protect yourself in an encounter with law enforcement.
Review the laws about police home and vehicle searches in New York.
Person and vehicle searches
If a police officer stops you in public and asks to check your bag, pockets, or vehicle, you do not have to consent to a search without a search warrant. Ask the officer if he or she has a warrant. If the officer does not have a warrant, clearly state that you do not consent to a search. Do not resist if they attempt to search you anyway, but prepare to defend your rights in court.
Law enforcement can enter and search your home only in emergency situations or with a valid warrant. If an officer comes to your door and asks to search your home, ask to see his or her warrant. If the officer has a warrant, make sure it has your address on it. Without a warrant, you may state clearly that you do not consent to a search of your home.
In a confrontation or disagreement with law enforcement when they attempt to search your home or car, avoid escalating the situation. Remain calm and do not run or resist, even if you have not committed a crime.
Take note of the badge numbers, names and physical descriptions of all officers involved. Take photos of any injuries that occur in a police search or confrontation. You have the right to legal representation if an arrest occurs.